Thursday, January 24, 2013

Trailer Hitch Anticlastic: Two Ways


Dyed Faux Bone (left), Copper with Inked Faux Bone strips and brass wire/beads (right)

I've noodled ways to create an anticlastic-style Faux Bone bracelet for the last couple of years but have never come up with something that worked consistently. However, while roaming the aisles of a hardware store (as I do at least once a week), I came across a giant display of different trailer hitches, all priced at about $8. The department manager eyed me picking each one up, inspecting each to see how even and deep the well between the ball and screw were. He asked me if I needed help and when I explained what I was doing he said, "Oh, you're one of those." (Come on everyone, admit it. You, too, torture well-intentioned hardware store clerks with tales of how you are going to make jewelry with their wares.)






After finding the perfect hitch, I attached it to my table at home and began to hammer away on copper. It didn't take too long to find a sure fire way to get a bangle every time, in about 15 minutes! While my first half dozen were very rough, I got better and better at getting smoother shapes. It is a great exercise for understanding how metal moves. I played around with different designs... open bracelets, rippled edges, rolled edges that trap beads. I then moved on to my original intention of working with the Faux Bone.



Using my copper form, I was able to heat and form a Faux Bone bracelet blank around the form. It took a few tries and a few tricks to get it right, but once I figured it out, I could repeat it over and over again. They look great worn together and you can make interchangeable Faux Bone strip bracelets to go in the center well of the bangles. I am so jazzed about this new and inexpensive technique and hope to bring it to a classroom soon. If you get a chance to try it out at home, send me a picture of what you make. Would love to see what you create...recklessly!












28 comments:

  1. I did forget to mention the bruise on my hip from repeatedly running into my new installation! ; )

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  2. Oh No I can feel that bruised hip but it has been worth it for your beautiful creations

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  3. Judy Freyer ThompsonJanuary 24, 2013 at 4:52 PM

    What size ball did you use? Looks VERY cool!!!

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    1. Thanks Judy!! A 2" ball...the FB was tied around the copper form with 1" ribbon with a bow. Once heated in oven, pull bow undone and just keep pulling until it cools in the form (or run under water).

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  4. Brilliant!! How many of us are going "bam, why didn't I think of that??!" lol!

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  5. DH said 'Oh, so she really IS using a trailer hitch' after I exclaimed 'I need one of THESE!!!' Very cool that the hitch comes with installation option, unlike my bracelet mandrels, which I wrestle with on the floor. Off to Ace Hardware and to find a hip friendly location in the studio. Thanks Melissa!

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    1. Hi Susan! Yep...it's my new best friend!! Have fun and post some pix!!

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  6. Okay. That is just a brilliant idea! I am always looking for materials when I go to my local Frank's Hardware store, but now I can befuddle them with requests about trailer hitches! Enjoy the day. Erin

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    1. Thanks Erin, hope you get to try it...your amazing brain will make something totally cool!

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    1. Hope you get to try it! Not genius, but cheap!! ; )

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  8. Lovely! What type of copper pipe are u using? It looks larger than anything I've found?
    I just purchase fretz set if forming stakes darn I probably could have used a hitch!
    Thanks for sharing!

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    1. I used 1" 24g strip wire from Rio Grande with ends riveted together at the corners (8.5" long fits me). Don't regret that stakes purchase!! A good tool is always worth it. The hitch has its limitations...my goal when I am in a "reckless" mode is to find ways to help people try new techniques without a lot of investment up front... But once you determine you like the technique, nothing can substitute for a good, quality tool...so congrats! Fretz stakes are awesome (and on my wish list!)

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  9. Hi Melissa
    OMG that has me excited too...I'm only just starting to do forming and have a love of kinetic things in jewellery making...wonder if there are trailer hitches at Bunning's!
    hugs
    Annette (who pre marriage had the surname Kable!!)

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    1. Kable...wow!!! Rarely meet a Cable let alone a Kable!! Have fun!

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    2. Annette, you must be an Aussie and a First Fleet descendant! Like you I'm off to my local Bunnings to find out what they might have - I wonder if a metal door knob might work?

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  10. brillant...thank you for sharing

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  11. I've done this type of metal forming with a stake....genius idea to use a trailer hitch!! just told my carpenter husband I need a hitch now....can't wait to give this a try! Just signed up for one of your classes at B&B too.

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    1. Look forward to seeing you at B&B! Carpenter husbands must have all sorts of fun tools to play with! (Does he hoard/protect them with his life like we jewelry-makers do??)

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  12. Your creativity always boggles my mind! Love this. I might need to go find myself a trailer hitch. Seems like it might work as a bracelet form too?

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  13. "Hitched", Etched, and Bound with love...

    Melissa, thank you so much for Jacob's precious gift! I was so excited after receiving it to find out its formation technique was your clever Trailer Hitch experiment. I will be thrilled to tell Jacob one day that this exquisite trinket was formed of the same piece of equipment that hitches up daddy's boat when we go fishing ha ha! A true treasure.

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  14. i have been looking at those 200-300dollar mandrels to forge anticlastic for a few years! i cannot tell you how badly i have wanted one, i called my husband over right away because i have bugged him so many times to come up with something i could use, guess what, he is outside right now we have an old hitch that is getting cleaned up as we speak!! thankyou, thankyou soooo much! aloha, angi in hana

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  15. Do you think I can use it with silver too?

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